Never have I had or will I probably have a day in the future that demonstrated the full spectrum of life’s emotions as I did on June 7th. Joy, fear, stress, disappointment and pride all intense and in a matter of hours.
9 Months ago Nicole and I found out we were expecting our 4th child.
3 Months ago Elena began to practice for her kindergarten graduation which entailed learning 7 songs and a short speech she would give on Japan.
3 weeks ago my 20 month old daughter Sienna started having a pretty terrible wheezing sound when she was breathing. Our pediatrician originally diagnosed Sienna as have RSV which is a virus that affects the lungs. It is something pretty normal and she have even had it in the past.
All paths converge.
We had been to our pediatrician 3 times in the last three weeks and had not seen any improvement in Sienna’s breathing. On Wednesday June 5th we took Sienna to an allergy specialist who discovered that she had a very low blood oxygen level. She was immediately rushed in an ambulance to Paoli hospital. In the Paoli ER they were able to increase her blood oxygen level when she was given an oxygen mask, but as soon as they took the mask away the level dropped. After 4 hours at Paoli we decided to take her to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Another ambulance ride and a very exhausted little girl.
We arrived at 2am on June 6th and the CHOP staff was nothing short of incredible. Even though it was 2am she saw a half dozen doctors and nursery’s in a couple of hours and it was clear this team was developing a plan to determine what was going on. Sienna was incredible during this entire process. With the exception of getting a x-rays hardly a tear was shed and she was even helpful at times. (it is important to note that Sienna probably considers getting an x-ray as being worse than water boarding) After 18 hours, a ton of different medications, 3 sets of x-rays and based on other findings they determined there was a high likely that there was something blocking flow into and out of her one lung.
Around 8pm June 6th we decided to perform a bronchoscopy which is a procedure in which they go in through the mouth to the lungs with a camera to try to see what is going on and if there is an obstruction to remove it.
At 9pm on June 6th Nicole’s water broke, however contractions did not start. She was not due until June 10th. The morning of June 7th Nicole and her mother went into to Paoli hospital will I slept on the couch next to Sienna at CHOP. My parents stayed with Elena and Jackson.
The morning of June 7th my parents took Elena (with Jackson) to her Kindergarten graduation. Elena has worked very hard preparing for this graduation. Every day we had been practicing her songs and her speech. In the last several months she has become a very mature little girl and become alarmingly self-sufficient. Nicole and I are very proud of how hard she worked in her preparation and were excited to share in her graduation with her. Unfortunately neither Nicole or I were able to be there for her big moment. She preformed admirable and graduated from kindergarten around noon on June 7th.
At around 10am even though Nicole’s water broke the night before she had not started into labor so they induced her.
At noon Sienna and I where taken to the anesthesiologist in preparation for her surgery. After having an IV put in she was given a gas to numb her (sorry don’t know a better term) so that she would not get upset when they wheeled her away from me. Now if you have never seen this process it is heart wrenching. I held her little hand as they applied the gas. Sienna has brilliant green eyes and an incredible happy presence about her. (her nickname is Happy) As the gas took its affect both were blank. Motionless, lifeless. Worst thing I have ever had to experience as a parent. At around 1pm my little girl was rolled away from me.
At 1:08pm Saylor Kathleen Welch was born into this world. At 8lbs 10oz she was a healthy little girl and Nicole was great. Nicole called me moment later to tell me the good news. Sitting in the surgery waiting room I was brought to tears. Happy our newest addition and my wife were doing great. Sad because I missed the birth of our daughter. Disappointed because I missed Elena’s big moment. Still petrified for Sienna.
At around 1:35pm the surgeon came out to let me know that Sienna was doing great. They found what looked like a small piece of peanut fragment lodged in her left bronchiole tube as it entered the lung. They were able to remove it and she was great.
After Nicole’s mom arrived at CHOP to be with Sienna, I traveled out to see my new little girl, Saylor.
One last night with Sienna at CHOP and our family was all together. All six of us.
June 7th was an intense day. Never have I ever experienced such a wide range of intense emotions over such a short period of time. It was a great reminder of the awesomeness of life.
(Please pardon my poor writing. I am tried and my normal proof reader has been very business with our newest addition)
My brave little Sienna
Saylor Kathleen Welch, 10 minutes old
So proud of Elena
Together for the first time. All six of us.